7 tips for better photos of your home

Hello all you wonderful people! Remember Martin of Britsnap Photography? He dazzled us in his last post, with 7 Simple Tips for Better Shots of Your Children. He’s back today, to give us 7 tips for better photos of your home. Take it away, Martin!

So some of these techniques are a little bit trickier than my last post but should be easy to grasp.

Use of a Digital SLR camera or one of the funky new 4/3rds cameras (Or my Fav Point and shoot the Canon G12) will allow you to have a few more technical options. But don’t be discouraged! These are all simple tips and even if you don’t have the equipment I mentioned, the principle behind the technique stays the same. It is all about understanding the lighting conditions and the relation it has to your pictures created by your camera. I use all these techniques EVERYDAY!

1) Natural light. USE it. Want to take a pic of a lamp or a chair or something else wonderful that you have created after being inspired? Pull up the blinds or open the windows and let the light shine in. Turn the indoor lights off to take your picture. Be careful not to place your object of photographic desire right in the window.  You want the light to be nice and ‘soft’. Don’t forget about opening your front or back door and stand and watch as the perfect light oozes into your home.

for the original post on this little hizzy, click here.

2) Use a Tripod. Sounds simple enough, but doing so allows for two things. First, as you would assume, it stops wobbly, shaky, blurry pictures (see tip #3). Secondly it allows for longer exposures. That is to say, the shutter is open longer, more light comes in and more of your picture is in focus. This is ideal if you are photographing non-moving subjects, like a table or a room. The other benefit is it helps give you a level photograph.

3) Use a remote (sometimes known as shutter release cables). These come in two forms: wireless (like your TV remote) and wired (like your old telephone cord). What this does, even though in tip number 2 the tripod has the benefit of reducing shake and blur, is to further reduce camera shake.  Simply the process of pressing the shutter (the picture taking button) can induce camera shake. Additionally, it allows you to shoot from different angles or even to include yourself in the picture. $15-$30 is all it should cost.  Some cameras have a BULB function. This is a brilliant button in combo with the r shutter release/remote cable. Press the button, hold it down, and in doing so you are keeping the shutter open.  Let go of the button and you close it again. This is a pretty good skill to learn, but don’t worry if you don’t get it right away. This takes some practice.

4) Avoiding the yellow. “So why do my pictures inside always turn out yellow?”  I hear that question often. What a pain. The cause of this, normally, and especially if you are indoors, is the indoor lighting. Something known as tungsten, interior lights have a yellow glow and your camera captures it. Most DSLRs have a ‘white balance’ setting that gives you options to change the ‘light temperature’. For these indoor shots, you want to mainly switch from a tungsten or auto setting to a ‘setting’ which is colder. The blue tint neutralizes the yellow and creates better pictures.

5) Shoot in Manual or Aperture mode. If you are not sure what these are, or the benefits, click here first. Shooting in Aperture allows you to select how much of your image will be in focus. When shooting a living room or kitchen, you really want as much in focus as possible. An aperture of F16-F22 will allow you to get nice, sharp, in-focus images. (Make sure you have removed the dust from the windows first.) The downside of this is normally to achieve these apertures you need your shutter to stay open longer…5-30 seconds depending on the amount of light (hence the need for #2 and #3).

6) Take outdoor shots of your house at dusk. Yes, just after the sun has set, when you typically see all the blues and pinks in the sky. Set your tripod, aperture to F16- F-22, use your cable release and set shutter for 30 seconds or more.  The house will look great, the sky too, and those outdoor lights you left on will create these cool starburst effects like the picture below. Want to sell your house quick? Take a picture like this and stand out from all the other listings on the MLS.

7) If you are taking pictures of objects or rooms in your house, turn your ‘bloody pop-up flash’ off.  Yes, you heard me correctly. Put duct tape over the top of it if you have to. Hopefully you have followed step #5 here, and the flash wont pop up automatically. If you really need light, place a table lamp next to the object you are photographing and use it as a spot light. If you need to make the light brighter either remove the lampshade or move the lamp closer.


Awesome post Martin! Thanks so much for sharing these!

Side note: Did you giggle when he said bloody? I always giggle like a twelve year old. Apparently it’s catching, because his wife {and my fab friend} Andrea says ‘naughty.’ That makes me giggle, too.

For more on the technical side of DSLR photography, check out some of Martin’s great posts on the subject, here. You can find more great advice and examples of work on his website, and his Facebook page, so be sure to hop on over and pay him a visit.

Cheers + have an inspired day, everyone!

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Responses to 7 tips for better photos of your home

  1. Awesome tips. I follow some of them, but others I need to jot down. Thank you for the advice. 😉

  2. Melissa says:

    I only have a Sony point and shoot camera, would I adjust the white balance the same way?? I want a fancy Digital SLR camera, but they won’t take my offer of $20 haha :0)

    • Britsnap says:

      You know, it depends, if you have a manual take a look at it to see, lots of point and shoots now do have the option. One of my fav cameras is actually a point and shoot. The Canon G12, had for under $400 it is a really powerful little camera.

  3. Dianna Davis says:

    What great tips! I am still waiting to get my “big girl camera” as I like to call anything other than my 3 year old point and shoot Kodak. I plan to start with just an entry-level Canon EOS Rebel this year. I will definitely have to revisit this posts for tips when I get it!

    Virginia is for lovers

  4. Kay Sigmund says:

    Ok stupid question here what is DLSR mean? I get the digital part. I have a Nikon cool pix I use a lot of the time because I can just grab it and go. I would really like to get the yellow out of my indoor pictures I take at my kids events and at home. I also have a Panasonic Lumix with 12x opitcal zoom I use sometimes also. I just would really like my pics to stop turning out yellow and blurry. I try using the right modes when I am using them but that doesnt always seem to work. Like the sports mode or the indoor mode. Thank you for your great tips.

  5. Holly says:

    Wonderful tips!!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Britsnap says:

    THe best way to think of a DSLR is a digital camera with interchangeable lenses and a viewfinder you look through.

    THe blurry is normally a cause of two things. Either the shutter speed is not fast enough (by the time the camera has taken the picture the subject has moved) or you actually causing the blur by not having steady hands. This article may give some advice: http://www.britsnap.com/2010/04/19/camera-tips-2/

    The ‘modes’ typically only work in ‘perfect lighting situations’ which normally is not indoors.

    Most people I speak to want a camera that takes pictures quickly. Any base DSLR will work and the Canon G12 point and shoot.

    The yellow if not corrected in camera, can usually be adjusted in photoshop or Lightroom or Aperture (editing software). free software such as picasa can be used too. You just have to add a ‘blue filter to the image to ‘cool’ down the yellow.


  7. Miss Kitty says:

    Thank you so very much for having Martin share those fabulous tips with us! I am “pinning” these so I won’t forget them. Congrats on this post being featured over at “Weekend Bloggy Reading”…

  8. Michele says:

    Thank you so much! I heard that about natural light anyway, but the way my house faces, it’s hard to get much light in some areas of my house. I am going to really concentrate on all these tips! Thank you SO much!!

  9. Chrissy says:

    Great tips! :) thanks so much for sharing :) I’m now hopping on to Martin’s website and Facebook page. Cheers!